Question # 431: Assalamu ‘Laikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh my question is with regards to repeating prayer due to breaking wind. I was making wudu for fajr and when washing my foot in the sink I was strongly resisting the urge to break wind. I’m unsure if anything came out but because the time was running out for fajr I continued wudu and prayed before sunrise. however, I still don’t know if anything came out but it could be likely. had I had time I would have made my wudu again. I had no yaqeen but strong doubts. my mindset was just keep making wudu even if something came out but now I look back on it if I had yaqeen it would have been pointless. because I didn’t pay attention to it or try to find a smell and the stress of maybe missing fajr I feel like it could have easily slipped past me. I also notice that when gas gets that close to releasing, a small amount slips out uncontrollably. should I repeat my prayer? even as I send this email, I feel like I should already repeat my prayer and that I know I broke my wudu.

bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: One who has doubts about breaking wind while performing wudu’, should not take such doubts into consideration. He should not repeat wudu’ unless he is sure he has broken his wudu’ by a sound, smell or feeling of passing wind or something like that. In this case, his prayer is valid and he does not have to repeat it, unless he is certain that he did pass wind. Paying attention to doubts may lead to one being affected by insinuating whispers of the Shaytaan (waswaas). Lastly, it is not permissible for a worshipper to start praying when he is resisting the urge to defecate or urinate.

Long Answer: One who is sure that he is with wudu’ and has doubts about hadath (breaking wind, passing urine or answering the call of nature), has to take certainty into account, since he is originally supposed to have wudu’ and hadath is accidental. This is proved in the following hadiths:

  • Narrated from ‘Abd-Allah ibn Zayd, who said: “The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) was asked about a man who felt something during his prayer – should he stop praying? He said, ‘No, not unless you hear a sound or detect an odor.’” (Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim).
  • Narration of Abu Hurairah reads: “One should not leave the Mosque till he hears a sound (of breaking wind) or finds a smell (of fart)”.

Al-Imam al-Nawawi said: ‘This hadith establishes a rule to decide authenticity of matters depending on their bases as well as to state that accidental doubts make no problem… [it] sets out the principle that things should remain as they are unless one is certain that they have changed; doubt does not affect the status quo’. Ibn Hajar said: the majority of scholars followed this hadith.

In the same way, if one doubts about making hadath while performing wudu’, he should not take such doubts into consideration, especially if one usually undergoes doubts. This is the best way to stop doubts.

Paying attention to these doubts may lead to one being affected by insinuating whispers of the Shaytaan (waswaas), so we must not pay attention to that, except in cases where wind is definitely passed. Then wudu’ is required. Al-Nawawi said, concerning the phrase “unless you hear a sound or detect an odor”: “it is sufficient to know that one or the other is present; it is not a condition that both the sound and the odor be present, according to the consensus of the Muslims.” What is meant here by knowing is being certain.

If a person is sure that he has passed wind, then he has to do wudu’, but if it is simply the movement of gas in the stomach, or he imagines that he may have passed wind, then he should not pay any attention to it. The mere movement of gas in the stomach or imagining that one may have passed wind does not invalidate wudu’… [in this case, his prayer is valid and he does not have to repeat it, unless he is certain that he did pass wind.]

[Furthermore,] it is not permissible for the worshipper to start praying when he is resisting the urge to defecate or urinate, because the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “There is no prayer when food is ready, or when one is resisting the urge to relieve oneself.” (Narrated by Muslim in his Saheeh)

The reason behind that – and Allah knows best – is that this prevents proper focus in the prayer, but if he prays in that state, his prayer is still valid, but it is lacking and is imperfect, because of the hadith quoted above, and he does not have to repeat it. But if you start to pray when you are not resisting the urge to relieve yourself, and you only start to feel that during the prayer, then the prayer is valid and is not makrooh, provided that this urge did not prevent you from completing the prayer. (Fataawa al-Lajnah ad-Daa’imah li’l-Buhooth al-‘Ilmiyyah wa’l-Ifta’)

(The above reply is based on the following resources:

  • Islamweb.net, a web site belonging to the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in the State of Qatar
  • Various answers provided by Islamqa.info on similar topics)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam